Be­hind façade lies a heart of hos­til­ity, pas­sion

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place where you agree to hav­ing your mem­o­ries stolen.

Two or­phans hunt mon­sters in

and a woman kills a man with her shoe and grows wings in An un­likely cou­ple set up a home in an aban­doned zoo with guinea fowls and pigs in The three sto­ries to take more un­ex­pected twists and turns.

Syn­onyms for “in­trud­ers” are listed at the back of the col­lec­tion’s cover: “tres­passers, in­ter­lop­ers, in­vaders, prowlers, in­fil­tra­tors, en­croach­ers, vi­o­la­tors” – the char­ac­ters in Mashigo’s sto­ries are all of these and more.

In­trud­ers is story-telling at its most eclec­tic: Mashigo chal­lenges us to be “fan­tas­ti­cal” – as in “con­ceived or ap­pear­ing as if con­ceived by an un­re­strained imag­i­na­tion; odd and re­mark­able; bizarre; grotesque” – and “to re­main true to our­selves.” The col­lec­tion lives up to its prom­ise. QUEEN Anne does not, at first glance, ap­pear to be one of our more ex­cit­ing monar­chs.

The last of the Stu­arts, she had 18 preg­nan­cies with no sur­viv­ing chil­dren, so it is small won­der that, in the words of her friend Sarah Churchill, she was prone to “gloomi­ness of soul”.

But as – the book of the soon-to-be-re­leased Os­car­tipped film star­ring Olivia Col­man and Rachel Weisz – re­veals, the monarch’s mo­rose ex­te­rior con­cealed a heart ca­pa­ble of fer­vent pas­sion and im­pla­ca­ble hos­til­ity.

Ophe­lia Field’s grip­ping bi­og­ra­phy of Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marl­bor­ough, re­counts the scan­dalous friend­ship be­tween the queen and her favourite.

Sarah was a woman of ex­cep­tional charisma who mar­ried a mil­i­tary hero – John Churchill, whose grandiose pile, Blen­heim Palace in Ox­ford­shire, was his re­ward for vic­tory at the Bat­tle of Blen­heim.

She rose to be­come a royal favourite, be­fore her dra­matic fall from grace.

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